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Update on county public health order and Health Check

Categories: Campus, Health & safety

Dear Stanford community members,

This week, Santa Clara County joined other Bay Area counties in modifying the current shelter-in-place order to allow some limited additional activities in the county to resume, based on regional progress on public health indicators. Beginning Friday, May 22, curbside retail will be allowed in the county, along with manufacturing and logistics that support retail.

The new order also requires entities engaged in “essential” operations, including Stanford, to provide a process for temperature and COVID-19 symptom screening for employees beginning this Friday. This involves an important new requirement beginning Friday for anyone who is working in a Stanford facility. Please read below for more details. 

Other provisions of the existing shelter-in-place order continue to be in effect. The order no longer has an end date, though indications are that the county plans to make adjustments to it periodically.

With this newest order, I want to take the opportunity to share several points about our current planning for the re-start of university operations overall:

First, we continue to expect a phased, gradual recovery of operations at Stanford, as President Tessier-Lavigne has shared previously. Even once public health restrictions are loosened further, employees will not return to our campuses all at once.

Once public health conditions permit, we plan a two-week period that focuses specifically on preparing for the re-start of some on-campus research activities that cannot be done off campus. This first stage of recovery will involve small numbers of people returning to make these preparations in some labs, libraries and related support areas, along with other employees who are already providing essential on-campus services. We will be in touch with you about the timing of this first stage when it becomes feasible.

In later stages, in compliance with public health guidance, we will be able to allow additional groups of employees to return to our campuses. However, this will take time, and we expect that most employees who can work remotely will need to do so for some time to come. We’re working to put the pieces in place that will facilitate a safe return to work. Even with these safeguards, we will need to increase the number of people on our campuses gradually and carefully, adjusting as we gain experience with new practices and protocols. You will be notified when you’re able to return.

Starting this Friday, May 22, if you are currently working at a Stanford facility providing essential services – or, once you are notified at a future date that you can return to on-site work – you will need to complete two requirements, before coming to work, to support our community’s health and safety. These apply to staff, faculty, postdocs and students who are reporting for work responsibilities in person:

  • Second, on a daily basis beginning Friday, you’ll need to use a new, Stanford-developed online tool called Health Check to screen for temperature and any other COVID-related symptoms. We’ve already been piloting this tool, which you can see here. Your use of it will be important for our compliance with the county’s order and to support the health and safety of everyone in our campus environments as people gradually return.

Again, those who are currently working on-site will need to begin using Health Check this Friday, May 22. If you have trouble using Health Check and you are sick, you should stay home and inform your supervisor, or your department or lab manager. If you have trouble using Health Check but are not sick, you should consult your supervisor or department or lab manager for assistance. Additional guidance will be coming shortly to supervisors and HR managers.

You can read more about the Health Check tool here, and frequently asked questions about the system are also available.

We will be in touch as there is new information about resuming on-campus operations and returning to workplaces. Please continue to consult for ongoing information. Thank you, to everyone in our Stanford community, for your continued partnership in confronting the challenges of this pandemic.


Russell Furr
Associate Vice Provost
Environmental Health & Safety